Finished my PS, Any further advice/critiques? Thank You!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Finished my PS, Any further advice/critiques? Thank You!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:20 pm

“No matter what I do, you’re not going to be happy,” the surgeon said. He paused before continuing, “When you look in the mirror, you’re not going to like what you see”.
Two weeks earlier, I awoke in an apartment fire that left third degree burns covering twenty percent of my body, mostly on my neck and face. The burns were too severe for the skin to heal naturally, and required multiple skin graft surgeries. The surgeon all but guaranteed the results would leave me unhappy.
In a tragic coincidence, a dear friend had passed away in a massive house fire earlier that year. As she slept, an electrical fire started downstairs, filling the house with carbon monoxide rendering her unconscious, and ultimately Olivia passed away from smoke inhalation. It is an amazing fact that humans can survive these horrendously painful burns and lesions, but we cannot survive the deceptively innocuous smoke inhalation that ultimately doomed her. Although it may be hard to comprehend for some, I came to think of my burns as a type of blessing - they had literally saved my life. If I had not awoken from the searing pain of fire on flesh, I would have succumbed to the same banal smoke inhalation. Instead I did wake up, and in doing so I was given a second chance.
During my twenty-two days in the ICU Burn Unit, and for several months thereafter, I was essentially bedridden and only able to walk a few feet each day. I had never been fond of asking for help but this experience humbled me and completely changed my worldview. I was now unable to do anything on my own, even the most simple of acts like bathing and changing required assistance. Forced to rely on the expertise of doctors and the benevolence of family and friends, I could no longer ignore the interconnectedness and interdependence that characterizes life. It was during this time that I realized helping one another is not simply an ideal, but it is vital to our very survival.
The recovery process was painstakingly slow and agonizing, and I took solace in keeping my mind occupied, as my body was temporarily useless. It was during this time that I rediscovered the interest in the legality of civil liberties that I developed as an undergraduate. While I was researching different provisions of the PATRIOT Act for my presentation in my Law and Society class, I became fascinated by how civil liberties had been diluted in the past two decades - especially in the years following the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. I became consumed with researching and writing about infringements on civil liberties. A myriad of daily activities had suddenly become malicious in the mores of society; no longer was an airport an avenue towards vacation, but now an ordeal replete with a questionable dose of radiation.
I developed an appetite for information about infringements on the right to privacy, often spending whole nights researching different facets of domestic surveillance programs such as Trailblazer and ADVISE and their questionable constitutionality. In addition to enriching my knowledge, reading and learning about this replaced my fixation on my physically bleak and painful situation; instead, it focused me on a future in which I could help others.
My desire to help others, coupled with my inherently analytical mindset, and my interest in civil liberties led me to actively pursue a career in law. I previously considered a law career while I was writing my senior thesis on the causes, effects, and politics of global plastic pollution. I recognized that the only catalyst for substantial change was law. By using the law to hold moneyed interests accountable for their actions, advocates have been able to reduce environmentally detrimental practices, most notably the dumping of garbage and toxic waste into our oceans. The same applies to defending the civil liberties that are so often taken for granted. Instead of just reading about civil liberty issues and their consequent court cases, pursuing a legal education would provide the tools necessary for me to affect change. I spent countless days and nights researching the intricacies and progress of civil liberty cases, most often lawsuits filed by the ACLU. I have always questioned everything, and immensely enjoy finding the inconsistencies in stories, logic, explanations, and arguments. This, combined with my desire to help others and my passion for defending our civil liberties, is what will drive me to succeed in law school and as an attorney.
From the moment that surgeon assured me that I would never be happy when I looked into a mirror, it became my goal to prove him wrong. I will never have the same appearance that I had before the fire, but when I look in the mirror today I gain satisfaction from something deeper: I see a man with more direction; I see a man who, with the help of others, faced and overcame obstacles he once deemed insurmountable. I see a man whose experiences and gratitude have in turn, fostered a desire to help others. I am confident that throughout law school and my future legal career I will continue my journey and develop the skills necessary to contribute meaningfully to society. Despite my considerable scars and half-missing ear, I’m well on my way to proving that surgeon wrong.


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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:56 am

Re: Finished my PS, Any further advice/critiques? Thank You!

Postby ramsdancer1 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:41 pm

Wow. First, I can not believe you had to go through that...I don't even know what to say.

As far as your personal statement goes, I think it would be stronger if you started out with the event its self told as a story almost. That would really grab the committees attention. Also, I am not sure what the requirements are for the school you are writting the personal statement for but I would show how you overcame this and how thoes traits will help you in law school. I know your situation is not like most people's but I still don't think law schools like to hear that you want to go to law school to help people.

If you want any more help personal message me. I wrote a school interruption piece about an accident I had, not near as bad as yours, that could maybe help you out. I had someone from Kaplan help with my personal statement and I modeled this piece the same way they taught me to write the pesonal statement.


Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:22 am

Re: Finished my PS, Any further advice/critiques? Thank You!

Postby XLogic » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:54 am

First off, your writing is great. This will be noticed by the adcomms. Your intro and subsequent paragraphs are vivid, emotional and very compelling. I was truly engaged.

I think the only thing that didn't quite connect for me was the relationship between your near death experience/dependence on others and law/civil liberties. It didn't quite connect for me.

For some reason, I was expecting something like: I am hurt/ill, dependent on people... We are all interdependent, I see that now... Interested in law, helping people, public interest.

I think some more work may be required on your part to further link your specific experience to "Why law?". Having said that, your writing is really superb!!

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